Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592-804: The Art of Autobiography: The History and Practice of Writing About Ourselves

Instructor: Johannes Lichtman

“I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.” –Henry David Thoreau

Given the importance of autobiography in contemporary humanities, it’s important to be able to contextualize the socio-historical role of the form. 

Embodying the interdisciplinary spirit at the heart of GLS, this course will look at the history of autobiography and its criticism, the changing definitions of who has been allowed to write autobiography and why, and the critical analysis of contemporary autobiography. Students will learn both the history of the form and elements of the craft of autobiography writing.

Assessment criteria include a critical essay, an original (short) work of autobiography, and reading responses. No group work; one-on-one meetings conducted via Skype or phone.

Updated: May 11, 2017